London, Jan 10 (IANS) Do you know that William Shakespeare left 150 pounds each to his daughters and a bed to his wife?
Or ‘Pride and Prejudice’ author Jane Austen bequeathed most of her worldly assets to her sister Cassandra?
Now, learn all about those legends, and their final wishes, online.
These historic wills are now part of the most comprehensive collection of probate records spanning nearly five centuries of history, between 1384 and 1858, published online on the British genealogical website ancestry.co.uk.
“They provide fascinating insight into the final fortunes of some of the world’s most famous names, right down to who should get their bed,” said genealogist Miriam Silverman of ancestry.co.uk.
So this is what some of the most famous people left, for families and the common man.
Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe between 1577 and 1580, left 40 pounds – the equivalent of about $246,000 today – to the ‘poor people’ of the town and parish of City of Plymouth located on the south coast of Devon, England.
Austen’s bequeathed most of her 800 pounds estate – the equivalent of $98,500 today – to the ‘dearest’ sister Cassandra. But her brother Henry received a meagre 50 pounds – now about $2,700.
She left another 50 pounds to her longtime cook, said the report on British genealogical website.
In 1616, Shakespeare’s last wishes left 150 pounds to each of his daughters – more than $624,000 today- and his wife their ‘second-best bed’.
“These probate records are an incredibly valuable family history resource, covering a period in history from which few official documents remain,” Silverman added.